Purpose

October 11, 2010

Notice the mouse. Foraging, nesting, reproducing. What goes through her mind during this daily routine? Does she think of what her special role in life might be? Or is she moving from one urge to another, throbbing with life while  she has it?

Her mission is to stay alive – as she sees it. It’s to care for her young, stay sheltered and warm, have a steady supply of food and water, and do all of these activities without being detected by a larger, hungry creature.

Simple.

Now, you and I – and the cat and the hawk and the owl –clearly understand what the purpose of this mouse is, which is to be eaten. From its birth in the midden to its death between gnashing teeth, its path has been meandering ever closer into the clutches of a predator.

Everything that mouse has learned about survival, and its instincts besides, can’t keep it from fulfilling its purpose, which is to be eaten. The mouse has an idea about what its life is about, but the hawk is certain of why that mouse had been born.

Is the god we look for – that inscrutable being that we attempt to please, invoke, and understand, it is a thing that hunts each of us, that we cannot hide from, outrun, outsmart, outlast? If it is my purpose, ultimately, to be consumed by this hungry force, it seems grandiose and narcissistic to imagine myself as special, unique, or having any kind of mission other than burning out the life force in this body.

Self-preservation has become perverted in humans to mean “ego-preservation, the story of me-preservation.”

What a waste of evolutionary intelligence.

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